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Music

The best songs about driving

Our eternal love affair with the automobile inspires musicians to sing about that special on-the-road feeling. Whether you're homesick, heartbroken, looking for adventure or cruising - these road trip songs cover it all.

In both literature and music, the road trip has become a standard metaphor for life's journey - but can also quite literally refer to travel from one place to the next.

Ever since the advent of the auto, songwriters have been immortalizing cars and their feelings about driving down the highway in rain or shine, heartbroken or happy, with a firm destination or just cruising.

"Beep beep'm beep beep yeah," the Beatles sang in their 1965 hit, "Drive My Car." Unlike many other road songs to come later, they made no mention of a brand or model.

Read more: Germany's love affair with the car

Fins and painted steel

For the Beach Boys back in 1963, it was a Ford hot rod in their fourth studio album "Little Deuce Coupe," while Janis Joplin  pined for a Mercedes Benz in the 1970 song by the same name.

American Dreamscapes, Pink Cadillac, 1959 (picture-alliance/Prisma/C. Heeb)

Luxury on wheels: a '59 pink Cadillac

Prince released the Little Red Corvette in 1983, just two years after Red Barchetta by the rock band Rush, which is a futuristic tale about a Fiat roadster. Bruce Springsteen admired a Pink Cadillac in 1984; Mark Cohn sang about a Silver Thunderbird in 1991, bragging the car "was looking good from tail to hood, great big fins and painted steel."

Read more: Need for speed: how cars have inspired modern art

With the IAA car fair opening in Frankfurt on Thursday, we've compiled our favorite songs about cars of all kinds and the roads they were made for. Click through the gallery above for more about the songs and listen to them via the Spotify playlist below. 

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